OCD backs river basin management, flood mitigation efforts

By Priam Nepomuceno

February 6, 2024, 12:14 pm

<p>OCD administrator Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno<em> (File photo)</em></p>

OCD administrator Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno (File photo)

MANILA – The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) assured support for initiatives to strengthen river basin management and other measures to mitigate flood risks in vulnerable areas in the country.

"We cannot deny the fact that there are challenges and existing problems that need to be resolved with regard to the recurring problem of flooding in various areas of the country and these are pressing concerns," OCD administrator Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno said in a statement Monday night.

He added that government agencies, local government units, the private sector and companies, experts, as well as the public should work together in addressing those challenges and problems.

Nepomuceno also cited the need to strengthen interventions and implement long-term solutions to floods.

"These may include revisiting and formulation of new policies and plans that will cover all major river basins; strict implementation against human activities that aggravate the problems such as irresponsible mining practices; environmental protection; improvement of flood-control projects and other engineering interventions; and permanent relocation of vulnerable communities. Clearer accountabilities must also be drawn," he added.

Davao floods response

Meanwhile, Nepomuceno said response operations in Davao Region are in full swing following the aftermath of the shear line, northeast monsoon and trough of a low pressure area.

Davao is one of the most affected regions due to multiple weather disturbances, affecting a total of 129,466 families in the region with 17 reported landslides and 50 floods as of this writing.

“The continuous rains in the upland areas, the heavy siltation of Tagum-Libuganon River, and the rise of water levels in several river systems due to excessive rains have caused landslides and flooding in the region. We are discussing these concerns alongside the ongoing response operations in the area,” Nepomuceno said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center, manned by OCD officers and personnel, is still on "blue alert".

“OCD is continuously coordinating and working with all relevant agencies to ensure provision of timely and appropriate support to the affected communities. President (Ferdinand R.) Marcos Jr. and NDRRMC Chair and DND (Department of National Defense) Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. are also closely monitoring the situation in Davao and other affected areas," Nepomuceno said. (PNA)